Art for a Cause…. Charity begins at home.

Morning, as I haul myself out of bed this morning looked outside to see my yard was white my first reaction was shit my plants where not covered. Living in Calgary the first rule of gardening is don’t plant anything until after the May long weekend. On closer inspection (put my glasses on) it wasn’t snow but the apple tree flowers dropping it’s peddles. Breathing a sigh of relief wander into the kitchen to grab a coffee then head outside to sit on the deck and watch the sun rise. Each day it’s important to take time to reflect, refocus & regroup for the up coming day. It’s also a great time to appreciate all the good in ones life. Sitting outside this morning watching the changing colors of the sunrise the oranges and yellows reminded me of the pictures of Fort McMurry fires flooding our news networks. It was cool outside , wind blowing and I was praying that they where not getting this wind. Better still rain would be a real nice thing at this point in time.

Our province right now is facing hard times with employment. Calgary is an oil and gas town and when things are bad in that industry we have the trickle down effect. Companies are letting go , people are cutting back and the dollars are not flowing. When you have a emergency such as this fire in Fort McMurry displacing an entire city you hope and pray we as a community can step up. I know my quilting community is doing that by making quilts. Donating their services and time.

While watching that incredible sunrise & reflecting I thought what could our studio do ? Yeah we could make quilts and donate them but what is really needed at this time ? Red Cross says make a donation and those funds would be used where it’s needed right now. So thinking cap on , another cup of coffee. What could we do ???

And it hit me !    ART –  for a cause 

What if all my quilting friends made a small art piece nothing large say a wall hanging or table mat size piece . If your not a quilter  make something.  My Husband said he could donate a photo or two.  Get your artwork  to the studio say by May 25th and we have an on line auction June 1st.   Sell the pieces then donate the funds to the Red Cross.

A little piece of art from many people can turn into something larger.

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Some times small things can change the world.

So let me know what you think. I think its a wonderful plan and if there is enough interest we will get to work getting this plan into motion.  Today I think I shall do something special  to get this event started.

 

 

Snow ah, ah , ah…

Wow Christmas is just around the corner I know this cause I just came up for air to let the dogs out and ah we have like snow covering everything ! Now honestly I should have known this was going to happen as today winter tires where put on my truck. So yes Calgary blame the snow on me. So I should be freaking out that the holidays are just around the corner but yeah not even a little phased . This week and next week finishing off major quilts that are totally custom. I have been sick for the last month so it’s nice to be feeling like my usual self. I am not totally back to normal but at least I can work for more than ten minutes at a time. Some exciting things did happen this week had a TV crew in the studio filming … Guess someone thinks I have an unusual job. The crew was out of Toronto and it was interesting to say the least. Will keep you posted when and if it’s going to be aired. It’s a pilot show and they are not sure if it will be picked up but they have traveled all over Canada filming different people so who knows. Heck it still was an interesting day .  I don’t think I do anything unusual other than doing something one loves. The secret to a happy life is do something you love, surround yourself with positive happy people, love yourself . Three simple things . Will keep you posted.

Now with Christmas just around the corner have you booked your quilt in for quilting? All Longarm Studio’s  have deadlines as we to want to be able to spend time with our families. Loopy D’s Deadline for the Christmas Rush is December 5th. Schedule it in so we can add it to the calendar .

We are also offering a new service just in time for Christmas. Book a Christmas party, Birthday party or a girls night out at loopy D’s your guests will make and take home an art piece. You get to try something new and different. kit’s are made for each person and we custom the party for you. Each party will be geared around what you would like to try. And nothing needs to be purchased you just show up and everything is provided. It’s kind of nice not to be expected to purchase anything . It’s a party and if you fall in love with quilting I will be sure to send you to my favorite quilting shop as I totally believe in supporting local businesses.

 

Class sample

Class sample- make and take.

So that’s what we have been up to. Guess busy as usual. Stop on by drop off a quilt I would love to work with you to finish your quilt.

Deb.

Busy Summer … Time for a sale !

 

Wow where has this summer gone ? Next week we change our clocks which in my world means summer is winding down and fall is greeting us. We added a new member to the family. Meet Lola a little French bulldog my son fell in love with ! Puppy training do I need to say more. This summer we also did IMG_1899tons of work in our yard. We had our  Fence replaced , we had our sidewalks poured so when coming to the studio you can park at the side and walk up the sidewalk to the deck and use  the side door . This is such a nice change !  Now my clients can just walk straight into the house and head downstairs to the studio. All our gardens where done, new gazebo & new furniture added. Gas hooked up outside and brick work finished. We have been enjoying out outdoor living space.   On the plus side we are done for the year ( we ran out of money , evil giggle)  and one can start thinking about Christmas. Yes I said it ! Okay before I get ahead of myself think I will be taking a vacation first.

Yes the studio will be closed From Sept 9th until the 24th . We are heading to Italy ! This is a once in a life time trip for us we are going with my sister in law and her husband . We have been planning and saving for this trip for a couple of years and now it’s just around the corner. Someone asked me the other day if I was excited and well to be honest no . I have been in panic mode more than anything.

As a small business taking time off is hard for a number of reasons.

  • if your on vacation no money is coming in.
  • while you are away no work is being done meaning no funds.
  • doors closed no work coming in meaning no funds
  • people think your no longer in business

Now I had these same worries last year when I took our vacation and when I got back had tons of new stories and totally came back refreshed and ready to work. Running a small business you have worries that unless you have walked this path you just don’t understand the stresses. I couldn’t imagine if I had rent to pay on top of it. Both my husband and I run small businesses so it’s a balancing act to say the least.

Anyways we are going to have a great time , see lots and do tons. My Italian lessons I took this year should help.

Now since it’s my birthday September 1st I thought we should have a sale. Starting today until Sept 7th… Call or email & say Happy Birthday and get your savings.

Birthday Sale

  • Book a class save $25 dollars
  • Drop off a quilt save $25 dollars on anything bigger than a twin quilt.
  • Batting   buy a roll    cost $250 dollars 40 yards per roll.

I hope to get lots of birthday wishes & hope to be busy in October .

The last two weeks have been trying to finish at least one quilt every day sometimes it happens and sometimes I finish two. Okay I have had a ton of small baby quilts in the shop so that helps. Next week are all monster size quilts that are going to take days. But today it’s all baby quilts.

I just finished this quilt for a client and rather like the colors she did this in. Wish it was mine … Oh and start following us on instagram: @loopyd_quilting

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The business behind a quilt

One day I decided to make everyone in my family a quilt for Christmas ! Okay what was I thinking ? Well Fabric land had a $4 a meter sale on quilting fabric. Evil giggle off to the quilt store I went www.mysewingroom.ca to see about getting a pattern and maybe taking a class. Heck the last time I used a sewing machine was in high school and well let me tell you making an apron doesn’t count as sewing. Okay in my twenties I did make a dress that ended up looking like one was wearing a tent. Just saying I was never friends with my sewing machine.

Took some classes, which is another story. Fell in love , if you had asked me then if I would own my own studio I would have be rolling over in stitches with laughter.

Jump ahead a few years . Now I run my own quilting empire (evil giggle ) And on a weekly basis I get this question oh could you make me a queen size quilt and how much will it cost me ? When I tell them usually you can see it in their eyes they think your nuts and way to expensive.

Here’s the facts – Dedicated quilter spends $3,200 hundred dollars a year on quilting . They typically own $13,000 in tools & supplies and their fabric stash is worth around $6000 dollars. You can spend up to $13,000 on a name-brand sewing machine. Don’t get me started if you own a longarm machine ! And this is just the tip of the ice. Factor in classes, patterns, etc. you get the picture quilting is an expensive hobby.

Now here’s where our business gets funky. Can you make me a baby quilt ? Yes I can but it’s going to cost you $150 dollars and that’s not anything over the top. Am I crazy ? Okay Fabric cost on the average here in Canada anywhere from $10 to $16 a meter . Okay yes sales happen but I still have to restock and then might not hit a sale. So baby quilt uses 3 meters of fabric , now batting , oh thread can’t forget thread. Spool of thread in quilt shop $8 dollars. Your getting the picture? Right now that baby quilt has cost me say $65 dollars for materials. Now cutting , piecing, sewing then quilting & binding. Can you say this will take a complete day and that’s if its simple ! My day rate is $150 dollars , so add the materials and that baby quilt should be priced at $215 dollars. Are you seeing that my math is not adding up ! Plus where’s your profit margin ?  Evil giggle in other words not making a profit if I quote you $150 for that quilt , and that little voice in your head was saying I was nuts. Well my voice is saying are you stupid you run a business you need to make a profit !

You can go on Etsy and see quilts being sold for next to nothing or quilters offering to make quilts for next to nothing. They are doing this to use up their stash or to be able to purchase more fabric. Last week on facebook a quilter was bragging that she purchased a king size quilt top for $25 dollars. She got a wonderful quilt and her friend had some extra cash to purchase more fabric ! Are you joking $25 dollars will buy you 2 meters of fabric that king size quilt had at least 6 meters of fabric in it. Your smart do the math personally I would have paid my friend at least $100 dollars cause I would have felt I was stealing from her if I had paid her anything less. Still shaking my head at that one !

Back on track … squirrel…. Evil giggle.

More Detail, more time means more money ... But so worth it.

More Detail, more time means more money … But so worth it.

Custom job - 11 hours to complete from start to finish.

Custom job – 11 hours to complete from start to finish.

$50 dollar quilt. I didn't make but shows a simple quilt job.

$50 dollar quilt. I didn’t make but shows a simple quilt job.

 

 

 

Not all quilts that are for sale are the same quality of work for example here is the same panel done differently. You can guess which one I did?  The simple one (I didn’t do) could be sold for $50 dollars. A panel cost $12 , backing fabric $12 , batting $5  , $2 for thread yeah your going to make $19 dollars which breaks down to about $10 an hour for ones work. Really I could pour coffee at Tim Horton’s and make more $$$. The one I did (okay my friend Charmaine Walker pieced the pinwheels , I put it together ) took about five hours to piece and four hours to quilt and  two hours for binding. It’s a little bigger and more fabric, cost for materials $ 65 dollars. If I was to sell this it’s going for $250 . Both of these are charity quilts and will be donated to Inn From the Cold & High River Flood relief when I have finished using them as  class samples.  They are used to show how quilting can make or break your quilt.

The general public just doesn’t realize what the cost of materials to make a quilt or how long it takes. We need to educate.

Honestly every time one person undersells, it harms the other quilters out there that are doing quality work and are trying to make a living wage. We need to raise our prices to a living wage for everyone’s sake in this business. Don’t do a poorer job to save time and money. I had a conversation with a commissioned quilter and she just does an all over stipple or loops because her clients don’t know the difference. Guess you get what you pay for.

In my business I see people offering a penny sale to grow their business , but the reality is those people that come drop off their quilts for that sale never come back it doesn’t grow ones business. And then you have a ton of work to do and getting paid less than minimum wage. I did this only once and would never recommend it to anyone.

I see quilting as a skill , I’m asking for the payment due a skilled worker because that is what I think I am.

So if you are reading this and just think you are a crafter think again your skilled there is value in your skills. Don’t just sell your quilts for next to nothing or for fabric. And those that want to commission a quilt know my prices are fair . You can always purchase a quilt at Wal-Mart or Target  because they cost less but  know that some child or woman in a third world county is making that quilt is also struggling to make a  living wage and the fabric quality might not be the same. Buyer beware.

Okay thinking I need a coffee… how can you tell yesterday I had three calls asking about custom  work but wanting to pay me pennies.

 

Custom vs Edge to Edge

FlowersA new client came to the studio two weeks ago and dropped off this jewel of a quilt. She had never had a longarmer do work for her so she had no idea how her quilt would turn out. We discussed how and what she wanted and then she left her quilt. This is a trust issue, one has to trust although as a quilter ask questions , see the artist work . Do you like their work, do you feel safe leaving your baby in the hands of a total stranger.  What is their skill level ? If you want me to do a panto (edge to edge following a pattern) yeah that’s not going to happen. Now ask me to create a flower and add a little something different yep will happen. Yes sometimes custom takes longer because we are thinking about the quilt and what it needs. Sometimes we are scared to touch it , we want the best to showcase the piecers work. The quilting should enhance the quilt. A lot of thought and time goes into custom . This was a simple custom the client was charged 2.5 cents an inch. for the job. Did it need any more no. Some times a quilt just needs an edge to edge but other times  spend a little more and have the spaces filled to enhance your work.

The Client loved the quilting job so much she hugged me with such love. I know that what I did helped  her quilt go from nice to very nice.   I am so looking forward to seeing it hung at Heritage Park at the end of May. She and her quilting group each made this quilt and will be entering them as a group display. She said some of them have just been quilted edge to edge a couple have there’s at they longarmers so it should be interesting to see them all together .IMG_0933

Whats Happen in the coming days….Ruling Class

In the last couple of months have come to realize that here in our little city quilters are hungry for information, new skills & just a new take on things. I don’t know if I have a new take but with the help of many teachers over the past couple of years my skills have improved & how I look at things have changed. So over the next couple of months have decided that once a month am going to offer small classes showing you different tools , different methods in doing things & introducing new takes on things. These classes will run for two hours , cost will be $25 dollars and anyone can attend as everything can be used for all quilters . Say that here’s our first Class offering … Ruling Class

Funny how something I use every day can cause fear in the heart of those that don’t use rulers or do free motion on a regular basis. If you sew on a domestic machine doing straight lines is easy . Owning a Longarm this is not the case. Doing ditch work is all ruler work doing applique is all ruler work . Since I am not computerized rulers are a must and are close at hand always. Open spaces causes fear in most of us but to conquer this fear rulers help in approaching this space. Breaking a space down drawing , using rules are all skills that will improve ones quilting. So if this is something your interested in call and book your space in this class. You will get to try see and play with all the rulers in the tool box.

Date          March 18th

Time          7:00 pm till 9:00 pm

Place         79 Sunhurst Cres S.E.

Phone       403 – 669-9523

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Rulers – wow

Cost           $25.00 dollars

 

As I said we are going to try offering different classes each month so book your spot today.

I must say am rather excited about this as I think those that take the classes will learn something new , go home with more skills in ones tool box.

Also we still offer one on one Longarm classes so book one today I promise you will learn so much !

Now as for me I had better put my tools away go finish what’s on the frame and load the next quilt. I promised to take my dad to Mexico in April which means I have to kick it into high gear so that one can take a week off. Work hard so one can play hard seems to be my mode of operations lately . One must put in the time to improve, one has to work hard to get ahead & one also has to take time to smell the roses. This year taking time to get some balance back into my life. Started dieting , starting hitting the gym once a day, walk each day with the dog and do something creative once a day. Right now that’s using my camera to capture nature for my next art quilt.

Now on that note should take the dog , walk over to the travel agent as there’s a seat sale on . Maya Riviera here we come my dad wants to see the pyramids before he dies (on his bucket list) . When my mother passed last year I really did step back and take a look at life and how fast it moves. Right there and then I knew I had to do something special with my father .  Balance my word for the year …

Move it Deb….. Have a great day and make the most of it, hope to see you on Tuesday .

 

 

 

 

Trying to stay on task

When you own your own business the hardest thing sometimes is to stay on task. On any given day there are so many things pulling you in different directions and people needed this or that. Add ones personal issues and distractions well you get the picture. Staying on task is hard. Over the years the joke in my family is I have most things under control but can never find my silly coffee cup. Okay typical morning pour coffee, sit down to enjoy it , phone rings, door bell rings, dog needs out, husband or son is asking where something is . Okay how I know where they put something is beyond me but usually know where it is. Shit where is my coffee ? Then the great hunt for that silly cup begins , find it and again distractions happen and coffee is missing again.
Over the years I have found the best way for me to work is to have everything organized (besides coffee cup). My husband’s office is a massive mess but he knows where everything is so only rule he has is stay out of his office. We all work differently !
I have tasks that are set into place to keep the jobs moving and flowing. The First Sunday of the month I blog so one can check the web site, catch up on office stuff , check the schedule for the next month. Then one knows what’s ahead for the weeks coming up . Do I make list no as this usually stresses me out because the list gets really long. One time my son said I didn’t do anything all day well next day got the clip board out and ever task I did that day I wrote down, 3 pages later and it wasn’t after five ! So lists don’t work for me as when one doesn’t finish what’s on the list one feels like they have failed . And really who wants to feel like that. Simple rule do what needs to be done for that day, go to next task then to the next . If you don’t get everything done that’s okay cause you did get what needed done … done.

Today I have a charity quilt to finish and then get a clients quilt done. I have been slower getting tasks done these last couple of weeks as I have been extremely sick but it’s nice to being over the hard stuff. Now to get back to my normal and rock things out. Staying on task in it’s self is a job but don’t stress the little stuff as it’s little.
These are the five things that keep me on task.
1. Clean work space – helps knowing where everything is.
2. Know what needs to be done that day – do what needs to be done the rest will follow
3. Don’t answer the phone – In this day and age we all have an answering service deal with the calls later.
4. Take a break – you can’t work full steam 24/7 stop have a coffee walk the dog , you need to take a break
5. Get the task you hate done first – If you get the ah job done then the fun stuff is your reward.

Hope this helps but remember we all work differently but if the way you are working now doesn’t work maybe you need to rethink how you work.

Have a great day. Now to work as this job (which I hate) is off my to do list and I can go do something fun.

Flies anyone?

Flies anyone?

Spring… Happy Dance!

Bicycle

Today spent working all morning quilting then around 1:00 pm decided to take a break do my banking & grab some lunch. While out thought should stop at a local bike shop and see what they had. Did the Canadian Tire thing but no bikes jumped out and said take me home. The thing is this will most likely be my last bike… Okay okay before you say what ! Our family was poor , until I was in my twenties I never had a new bike . My Husband bought me my very first new bike which I loved and rode for over 20 years. Last year it said no more ! So before summer hits needed to purchase a new bike. Since my last one lasted so long thinking the next one will do the same.

Well I walked into the Cycle shop thinking what am I doing chances are all their bikes are going to be out of my budget ! Walked in and there it was screaming you found me take me home !!!! As a quilter we love color , as an artist we love design as a little old lady (okay not that old but my son would beg to differ) I love retro. This bike was coming home with me no matter the cost. Yes I paid more than I would have liked , would I have paid more hell yes. Skulls baby who do you know that has skulls painted on thier bike. NO ONE !!!

Could hardly wait to get it home. Then took it out of my truck , took some pictures then took it for a test drive. Wind blowing so hard my skirt was in the air but that was not going to stop me from living my childhood. All this bike needs is streamers in the handle bars. You know what I am taking about. I felt like a child wind in my hair peddling down the street with no where in mind to go. I wanted to show off this shiny new toy but my group of friends are not normally found crusing down lake sundance wind in their hair , skirt up around ones waist . The free spirt in me said heck they are missing out and continued touring about.

I love love my new bike it screams my name ! Right now it’s in my living room as can’t get into the outside shed right now. Oh who am I kidding I want my new bike to be safe and sound parked in my living room. Tomorrow going for a Bike ride with my friend Mel , we should have a blast peddling around for an hour or so. Then I will put my shinny new toy away in it’s rightfull place .

So if you see a women peddling a bike with skulls, skirts blowing in the wind just say of there goes Loopy D and she is a loopy as we thought.

The Energizer Bunny Has Nothing on Me

Wow Febuary is almost over ! This has been one of our busiest months to say the least. Quilts have been coming in and going out on a steady basis. Although still behind in the Custom ones but should be caught up in the next week or so.

Tomorrow working with a lady to make a wedding quilt from start to finish. She needs it by March 1st. No worries I told her ! Evil giggle really I will be burning the midnight oil for the next what four days. Funny how one can function on the pressures of a deadline.

This month was also busy with our One on One Longarm classes. Yes we offer this service at the Studio. You come in comfortable cloths ready to work for 4 to 5 hours or until that glazed look comes over you and one knows nothing more is going to fit in the brain. We even now have workbooks all made up for the students to take with them.

One of our students after taking the class then went on the APQS site and ordered herself a demo Millenium. Okay she was thinking about purchasing a machine before the class but once she took the class the machine sold it’s self.

Another lady said making the call to take the class was the hardest thing she did . I asked why and she said it’s taking that next step it was scary. Now she too is hooked and was here yesterday renting the machine to finish her very first quilt. She is so new to quilting but let me tell you the smile on her face when the quilt came off the frame was a million dollar smile.

Rentals this month where also up , okay students loved working on the machine and came back to use it to finish their quilts. One of the ladies then posted pictures on her blog. So feed back seems to be good.

Word of mouth will make or break you so like in everything in life Do your Best (that’s All)

The CTV clip that aired at the end of January was a huge surprise . The National calling at 11:00 o’clock and coming to the Studio at 1:00 caught us off guard. Karma I guess do go and good things happen. Personally I think if we all did one small thing ever day for someone else our world would be so much nicer.

So what’s happening in the next couple of months you may ask. Well I have a piece about marketing oneself coming out in Canadian Quilter. They called and asked for a small write up . Country Registry did a phone interview and that should becoming out in their next issue. Booked my booth at Heritage Park for the Festival of Quilts. Which means will have to fit in some of my work to showcase the quilting . Working on a couple of original patterns to sell there this year. Joli Sharp resident designer has been working hard to create a quilt that will showcase Mr bones off. Yep thinking schedule is getting full. Then you add a week of classes at Sparrow Studioz and the next couple of months are full . Add quilting into the mix and yes it’s time to say good bye to the day home I have been operating for the last 15 years.

Just reading this could make one tired. The energizer bunny has nothing on me. Evil Giggle ! Anyways you can always follow us on facebook . And would love feedback.

Now off to the Studio I go.

Thank You to Those That Answer the Call

Bargello

Last tuesday Darrel Janz from CTV news came to visit and interview me at the studio. The piece was about those that Inspire.When my friend called to say she wrote them about me I was touched (Okay I did cry sap that I am). But really the question going through my head was I do nothing special . When asked one gives right ? Your friends ask for an auction item, someone is donating a quilt could you quilt it, usually if I have the time the answer is yes. Someone has a need you make afew calls. Last year was one of those years and yes many quilts left the studio and headed to organizations and people in need. Two hours being interviewed and the thought running in the back of my head is – there are so many people that should be here . So shout out to the following people that I have the great honor to consider my quilting family . Linda’s Ladies, amazing group of ladies that between our group 200 quilts headed to slave lake, quilts where done for our men and women in the forces, women in need and the list goes on. I called and they gave quilts for my friends cause Huntingtons. To Anne Dale at My Sewing room. She opens her doors to let us gather and work plus sending out the call for donations for what ever we are working on. Last year the quilters of Calgary Stepped up and the donations of soaps, lotions, bags, food , mittens hats etc that arrived at her shop was amazing. All that product went to women in need, the food bank and Inn from the Cold. In our studio here at Loopy D’s we offered classes where you took a class and wrote a cheque to Inn from the Cold. Did it come out of my pocket no my amazing students helped raise almost $1000 dollars last Christmas. Matt Sparrow and the group of amazing longarmers in Edmonton answered the call when there was a need for sewing machines for an amazing women . The Millrise Quilters Guild that I love being part of make placemats for the Food Bank, small quilts for the hospital for the new babys, quilts for the elderly and the list goes on. All these people I consider my quilting family. They allow me the great honor of playing in thier sandbox , we share and our common bond is the love of quilting . This world of quilters respects each other and supports each other. Then there are those that are not quilters but answer the call. My Sisters of Beta Sigma Phi have donated some crazy requests along with funds. When asked for jeans , bags arrived, right now am asking for silk ties for a quilt supporting mens prostate cancer and they are gathering them up.

Just saying the circle of people in my life give and when everyone gives a little great things happen. So tonight on CTV’s six o’clock news they will be running this story. Don’t know how they will cut it but this honor belongs to all of you !

And yesterday CTV National came and interveiwed me again for the National. They saw Mr. Janz piece and wanted to run something. So that will be running sometime this weekend. Don’t know if I will watch as well am a little scared about how one looks, did one stumple over ones words. How do they take 90 minutes of film and cut it down to less than five minutes . Ahhh could drive myself crazy.

So thank you to all the people in my life for everything you do. Much love coming your way.And yes the quilt I was doing the longarm work is now finished and hanging on the studio wall.